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Evolution : Darwinism versus Creationism
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Darwin Embraces Creation
This page engages the debate between Creation and Evolution to consider the gulf between modern science and the world of the spirit. Recognising where the pronouncements of modern science go beyond knowledge and become dogma and prejudice. Recognising where religion, Christianity in particular, has reacted to fundamentalist science with its own narrow dogmatism.
In urging the wisdom and folly of both sides of this argument we will attempt the middle ground between these entrenched positions. Attempting to demolish the obstacles to a compromise alliance. Not diplomatic compromise for its own sake. The middle ground, on both sides at once, is usually where truth is pursued.
We question whether the Bible, written by wise and inspired men two to three millennia before our time, is best served by a literal interpretation of what is essentially a spiritual message, directed at an ancient audience and expressed in their terms. Scripture should never be our sole reference or we fall into the dangerous, narrow trap of the Pharisees and Sadducees, condemned so vehemently by Christ. We support the role of the Holy Spirit in continuing to inspire minds today, and give us an understanding beyond what was possible in Bronze Age biblical days.
On the other side we deplore the gratuitously atheist slant attached to the Theory of Evolution, against Charles Darwin’s own interpretation, and the strict materialist dogma which has blinkered modern science ever since. The extraordinary success of evolution, of Creation, cannot be an accident. It testifies a supreme Director and demonstrates a purpose and intelligence, a very special orchestration and harmony, which denies blind chance.
Above all, the fact of a Spirit within Creation is demonstrated by no less than millennia of evidence : the ancient sciences of astrology and metaphysics and the spiritual faiths around the world, constantly supported by commonplace spiritual phenomena. For those with eyes to see.
We take an overview, too, of the so-called ‘triumph of modern science’ and recognise parallels with the overweening success of Christianity in the medieval period, narrow, dogmatic, arrogant and blind to the burgeoning materialist enlightenment which spelt its downfall. As modern science resolutely ignores or condemns the huge wealth of alternative thinking today. Finally we recognise the multiple threats an irresponsible materialist science presents to our world, as we equivocate on the brink of extinction.
Science properly means ‘knowledge’. The ancient, vital science of astrology and metaphysics is the oldest, original science. Ancient Astrology and Modern Science proposes this knowledge of the higher energies, dimensions or spirits within physical matter can marry very happily and productively with the latest revelations and speculations of modern sub-atomic physics.
This union, where true science, true knowledge, transcends the age-old conflict between spirituality and materialism, will give us a new vision of the universal Spirit, God, Brahman, directing Creation through the miracle of infinitely subtle physical laws no less binding, no less omniscient, than the iron laws of good and evil. Both framed to make us better people, to bring us closer to our Creator, closer to our true Selves.
Embracing this natural and spiritual evolution we may yet find fault with so-called Darwinism, hail the Creator yet contest Creationism. In this fierce battle we take our stand in no man’s land where alone reconciliation may be found.
Charles Darwin, after all, remained a Christian and considered his Theory incomplete, requiring further development. Recognising the Spirit, directing our development from within and from above, completes the Theory of Evolution. And it is sound science.
The current fierce debate, particularly in America, over the theory of evolution contains many shades, too numerous to detail. Broadly, many Christians believe a proper acceptance for God’s Word in the Bible requires a literal belief in the Creation story of Genesis and a rejection of the Theory of Evolution : ‘Young Earth’ Creationists. Many more accept the great age of the Earth but reject the random process of natural selection for the evolution of man and so reject man’s evolution : ‘Old Earth’ Creationists. These various lines are both right and wrong.
Biblical scholars have generally recognised two different Creation stories in Genesis, joined in the middle of Ch.2. v. 4 (1. 1-2. 4a and 2. 4b-2. 25) and there is wide agreement these have much in common with similar Creation myths from neighbouring Near Eastern cultures. This approach is founded on the recognition men wrote the Bible. Men inspired by God, perhaps, but men like ourselves.
Heaven on Earth believes the objective facts behind faith are more inspiring, more convincing and more valuable in practice. These undressed facts help us recognise the spiritual reality of our lives with greater clarity than more traditional forms of faith, apparently fashioned for a very different world two or more millennia ago. A world where, for instance, literacy was strictly limited.
Heaven on Earth’s dispassionate insights only confirm the essential messages which all religions and particularly Christianity teach. This view places a particular emphasis on returning to the Scriptures to discover the original inspiration fresh, without the overlying layers of interpretation gathered over the centuries or more recent slants. There is clear evidence these revelations merely rediscover the knowledge on which the original Scriptures were based.
Yet this approach cannot escape a slant of its own : an objective clarity and focus on facts which seems appropriate to the new age and would not have formed part of the public preaching of old. Heaven on Earth holds a fundamental belief each period must choose its own most effective forms for faith.
This belief implies there is no one right form for recognising religious truth at any one time or perhaps even within any one group. Freedom of conscience is a valuable asset and for Christians seems to support the inspiration of the Holy Spirit within every breast. This is not to say there are no wrong forms. All religions have an intolerant and bloody history which demonstrates how easily a faith preaching brotherly love, forgiveness and charity can be used to inspire the very opposite of these virtues. Where actions belie the words used to justify them.
In a world of sophisticated confusion and a rampant lack of spiritual values, a return to simpler faith is understandable. Heaven on Earth attempts to present a simpler certainty which is worthy of the new age and cuts the confusion.
A Spiritual Message
Modern biblical scholars, faced with the difficulties of a literal interpretation of Scripture, have discovered a rich spiritual significance in the texts. Faced with the New Testament puzzle of cavalier inconsistencies and creative quotations with simply incredible miracles, alongside a searing and brilliant message presented with inspired intelligence, this deeper significance, beyond the obvious, is the implicit explanation. These contradictory features imply a focus much deeper than mere narrative accuracy, the least of the writers’ concerns. We recognise where the Gospels are weakest – superficial credibility – and where they are strongest – spiritual credibility – and draw the inevitable conclusion.
The two great problems of a literal interpretation are incredulity and, perhaps worse, missing this message, this deeper resonance. Missing the true spiritual significance which our ancestors would have absorbed more instinctively. Not being burdened with the predominantly materialist vision which dominates today, they would never have imagined these scriptural stories in a mundane light, for all the mentions of Herod and Pilate. They would have seen the story in the same light as the religious myths of Mithras, Osiris, Zeus, Orpheus or as the Indians see Krishna today, a different, spiritual vision.
Our modern minds appear to have a different attitude to Scripture than the ancients for whom sacred truth was subtly distinguished from mundane truth. We can see this distinction today in traditional Buddhism and Hinduism where historical truth is simply not an issue, it doesn’t affect religious myth. Myth in eastern religions is not a disparaging term, it carries profound spiritual respect. Our modern material western minds cannot now make this natural, instinctive distinction. So we need to reason it out. We need to make a deliberate distinction between these two truths.
We cannot let Christianity expend unproductive energy in this semantic distraction. There are far more important, urgent challenges if we are not to be caught napping. Christ is not a lawyer and He did not sympathise with the legalistic niceties of the Sadducees and the Pharisees. He will want us to be true to the Spirit, never mind the letter. Look how many of the Old Testament Jewish beliefs we have abandoned under Jesus’ leadership. Would He quibble if we updated a bit more ? Did He not urge us to go further under the guidance of the Holy Spirit ? (Jn.16. 13)
Darwin and Blind Science
While the evidence for human evolution seems to leave open some questions, the evidence of geology and fossils is rock solid, testifying a physical evolution of the Earth over hundreds of millions of years. This makes sound sense to modern minds and, far from compromising belief, appears to many to inspire a modern wonder at a patient Creator intimately involved with our own spiritual and physical evolution, our natural improvement. A Creator at one with the wonders of nature and with the nature of Creation.
The major failing of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution seems to be its atheist vision. It is unable to take account of the spirit within or the Spirit on high and presumes evolution is solely dependent on chance. Mere genetic accidents turned out to give an advantage to their bearers which was perpetuated by the survival of the fittest. No hint of deliberate design, how could there be ?
This is a myopic view of what by any measure is a world of stunning, miraculous harmony, beauty and efficiency. (At least it is stunning when we can see nature with fresh eyes !) We cannot even imagine a better Creation and when we do, the results mock our folly. This creation is the handiwork of a supreme Creator, not the base, utilitarian product of chance.
Plato : the Philosophy of Creation
In man’s search for truth, philosophy is perhaps theology’s poor relation, lacking the insight and evidence to consider the spiritual facts of life. Philosophy generally confines itself to the material facts of life, a sadly superficial view. Plato, still recognised as a colossus among philosophers, was not so impoverished in his thinking and believed passionately in a Deity.
Plato questioned everything, except the existence of a Creator. Presumably because it was beyond argument : the evidence for the ‘spiritual dimension’ was so overwhelming to an open mind. The sort of evidence which convinces millions and many of the best minds today but which modern science blithely denies. Plato was not bowing to common belief and ignored the popular pantheon of gods although he did recognise the divinity of the planets. Strangely the popular gods were not associated with the planets although they bore the same names !
Rehearsing precisely our modern argument of Creation against materialism, Plato’s final testament, the Laws, was also quite scathing about the current trend to explain the world in material terms as the result of practicality or chance. He insisted on recognising a Creation with a deliberate design which demonstrated intelligence and a divine, higher purpose, ordered by a single God, father, maker or craftsman. This concept was entirely new to Greek thought yet it has survived the twenty five centuries since, remarkably little improved.
Plato’s belief in a Deity prompted his conviction in Man’s ultimate goodness : ‘It is impossible for the best to produce anything but the highest.’ (Timaeus 30) We can equally effectively turn Plato’s logic around, ‘It is impossible for the best to be produced by anything but the highest.’ This argument for a Creator from the excellence of the Creation is widely considered the best argument any philosopher has come up with to prove the existence of God. It is a very powerful, inexhaustibly eloquent argument and we shall see below the difficulties of one of our best minds in his determined assault on it.
Yet it remains a materialist argument, without knowledge of the spirit within. Many believers would say it is pretty useless having a spiritual dimension we are not aware of. Many believers even today would claim some kind of convincing recognition or experience of this Spirit although the present climate would suggest we are less open to these experiences or recognition than people were in the past. These common-place experiences, some objectively very credible, even verifiable, provide a very different, evidence-based argument for the existence of a spiritual dimension. Modern science may choose its own standards to reject this evidence, as people, not just believers, choose theirs to reject modern science : not a good situation.
Besides our religious traditions there are the ancient sciences of astrology, metaphysics and alchemy, derided by modern science but with a history and a level of respect through the ages up to our own times which should caution those who mock. The child of just two or three centuries who scorns the venerable sage of forty and more loses learning and advertises ignorance. Whether we recognise the supreme genius of these traditions or no, knowledge knows the Spirit lives within.
An Atheist Lost in Wonder : the Devil’s Chaplain
Richard Dawkins is Professor For the Understanding of Science at Oxford, a prestigious, ambassadorial position. He openly proclaims his evangelical polemic touting Darwinism against God. His most famous book on the subject, The Blind Watchmaker, triumphantly sums up the fallacy, the failure of his argument, in its very title.
The title refers to the Rev. William Paley who in the early 19th century put forward one of the most powerful philosophical arguments for the existence of God : essentially, ‘Look around you !’ He said even an ignorant savage, finding a watch, would immediately conclude it had been deliberately made by someone, a watchmaker. It could not have been constructed so intricately by accident. Anyone would also conclude this genius had a purpose. So we cannot imagine the infinitely more sophisticated harmony of Creation does not have a Creator, does not have a purpose.
Richard Dawkins’ answer is heroically myopic, short sighted. He can’t see a Creator, he can’t see a purpose, so he says they definitely, absolutely, definitively don’t exist. Even though it appears there should be a Creator, a watchmaker. In fact he recognises the watchmaker but insists he is blind : "All appearances to the contrary, the only watchmaker in nature is the blind forces of physics, albeit deployed in a very special way... it is the blind watchmaker." We will see below, the ‘forces of physics’ are far from being fully understood and leave plenty of room for doubt about just where they are coming from, in more ways than one. They are far from self-sufficient, a closed system.
As for this ‘very special way,’ and ‘deployed,’ some may say he gives the game away yet again ― for the third time in one sentence. Dawkins effectively admits it is an extraordinarily ‘special way’, with all the hallmarks of a very purposive direction, a very purposive director. Even such an adamantly atheist mind as Dawkins, examining and considering the evidence of nature closely and deeply as he must, is forced to recognise something so wonderful and extraordinary he admits ‘all appearances’ suggest an intelligence, a deity, which he admits has ‘deployed forces in a very special way.’
The image of a ‘blind watchmaker’ is simply a nonsense. If he is blind he has nevertheless built a watch, if he is a watchmaker. He knows what he is doing. If he doesn’t know what he is doing, he isn’t a watchmaker. But as Dawkins has to admit, ‘all appearances’ are he has done a pretty fine job. Dawkins effectively admits it is ‘as if’ there were a design, a watchmaker. But then he just baulks at the idea because he is an evangelical atheist. Quite understandably he gets lost in wonder at the mechanics of creation. It’s as if he discovers there is actually a machine making the watches, so, ‘NO WATCHMAKER !’ or just a blind mechanical watchmaker.
Others might infer a rather superior, successful watchmaker ― when one discovers watches which can make ever better watches ! But Dawkins wants to see the old man make every watch personally or he cries ‘ Eureka !’ In this case it is not C.S.Lewis’ Narnian ‘Emperor,’ modestly clouded in iridescent mystery, who has no clothes … If there is a mechanism for evolution, for creation, it does not exclude a Creator. It’s just requires a slightly more sophisticated concept of God.
What lies behind Dawkins apparent blind faith in atheism ? He admits himself it goes back a long way, it is his whole motive in entering science. Hardly the dispassionate judgement one might look for in a true scientist. His "early interest in evolution was really as a sort of alternative to religion, and an explanation for the way things are," the author told Sarah Duncan of the London Times. “While "other biologists start out as bird watchers or bug hunters," said Richard Dawkins, "I started with a curiosity about why things exist."
It is impossible not to conclude Richard Dawkins also has an insatiable thirst for the glare of the spotlight and this was always going to be his vehicle, his opportunity which he was not going to lose by thinking too deeply. He is content to ridicule all the fond follies and contradictions of a faith reflecting its all-too-human fans. Just as, we shall see, science or any great idea is always prey to human folly. Just don’t chuck out the baby with the bathwater. It’s not science Dawkins is promoting but good old-fashioned materialist atheism.
It’s just the same basic view Plato was roused to denounce around 350 BC but Dawkins speaks for many. The desire to explain things as one sees them, without all this ‘insight’ business ….this extra dimension which many just do not feel …
Yet for believers materialist atheism like Dawkins’ has great value. It is essential to doubt, to ask questions, to question blind faith, to force belief to face facts, to keep up to date, and best of all, to appreciate the wonders of Creation, the way it works, God’s laws by which we live. Richard Dawkins’ burning enthusiasm for the dazzling ingenuity of nature might evoke a forgiving chuckle for his raging blind spot.
Darwin’s Theory of Creation : the Odds Against Chance
Yes, evolution does exclude the world being literally created in seven days by an old man in a long white beard but that was a fairly naïve view even in Darwin’s day. As soon as we recognise the Genesis story as a myth of its time, framed to explain the idea of a guiding spiritual dimension, a Guiding Spirit, a God, creating everything for a divine purpose, the Victorian choice of ‘apes or angels’ becomes a bit ridiculous. As usual with such false dichotomies, false choices, it’s really a bit of both – and much more besides. Just as Christians depend on God to help them become better people, so we see the same benign, divine guidance in evolution. The physical dimension of the same game.
When we recognise this physical ‘species evolution’ takes place through the personal spiritual evolution of reincarnation, it makes even better sense, though to some ears, this lifetime, it will always sound strange, alien, anathema. Not what they’re used to hearing. Blasphemy. Like the Jews being asked to believe Jesus was the human Son of God, like Martin Luther’s views, like …. any new truth.
We have already noted Darwin himself was a committed Christian whose faith was unshaken by his Theory. It caused him a great deal of concern to discover his ideas were being used to promote atheism but he believed he had made only a basic start at explaining the complex mechanism of evolution. Presumably he might say, explaining how God really created, and continues to create the world. If Darwin put it all down to chance, he had no choice, it was the best evidence he had. The best admissible evidence. You couldn’t bring God even into Victorian scientific theory.
Yet already we are discovering evidence of recent evolution which defies the timescale of chance just as a watch, let alone a world of such beauty, defies the logic of chance. Richard Dawkins himself has recognised some ‘evolutionary pathways which life is “eager” to go down,’ like vision, the eye having developed entirely separately in 40-60 different ways. Hardly a testimony to chance. While actual language has only developed in humans. Perhaps because it is so powerful : leading to what Dawkins himself recognises as our ultimate evolution, one which will serve as a worthy enough purpose for Creation : to know ourselves. The sages’ highest advice. If we truly know ourselves we will soon learn our duty to those dumb creatures who don’t need to : we will soon find Heaven on Earth. Not by chance but by a destiny written ‘before the foundation of the world.’
The eminent astronomer Fred Hoyle calculated the pure chance odds of an unrealistically simple, self reproducing cell forming at all to begin the cycle of life on Earth, even given an unrealistically ideal combination of ingredients, was 10 40,000 against. It has been calculated even if every atomic particle in our universe were a universe itself, and the sum of all these particles were constantly combining every millionth of a second for the full 15 billion years of our universe’s age, in this unrealistically ideal combination of ingredients, this would produce a mere 10 204 chances.
Whatever the maths, Fred Hoyle is very scientifically making the point, the possibility of life creating itself by chance is infinitely less than zero. This is why some scientists suggest life must have arrived on Earth from outer space. When there is an unseen force directing things with infinite intelligence, and total control, the chances improve …. and life improves.
Even Richard Dawkins, in his latest book, The Ancestor’s Tale admits, ‘The fact that life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10bn years after the universe evolved out of literally nothing, is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to describe it.’
And he speaks of his ‘Amazement at the extravaganza of detail (of life) … amazement, too, at the very fact that there are any such details to be had at all, on any planet
The Triumph of Science ?
It is the aggressively atheist origins of Darwin’s Theory which promote the problem. With a typically Victorian blinkered vision it was immediately hailed as disproving the Bible story of Creation and so disproving the whole Bible story, disproving God. Probably the shock of the new evidence was just too sudden for many and Christians were unable to respond properly, themselves hidebound by official dogma. Our guardian angels are dependent on an ape who is, fatally, not as clever as he thinks he is, not as evolved as he will be.
Many modern Christians find this nineteenth century ‘triumph of science’ hollow and shallow. Discrediting a Bronze Age creation myth to dismiss the wisdom of millennia, to declare the age-old tradition, faith, knowledge, experience of a spiritual dimension in life to be nonsense, disproven. “Prove this spirit, prove God, if you can ― in the lab, on our instruments.” Like proving the Earth goes round the Sun to the Inquisition.
Modern science has been trapped in this narrow fallacy ever since.
While dwindling, and rampant, Christianity has been content to retain or proclaim its faith in the jaws of manic materialism. Rather than explore what faith should mean, what God wants, in this desperate state, where everything is possible.
Dogma in Modern Science
Darwin’s Theory marked a watershed after which science felt confident to claim it had superseded Christianity as the judge of truth. It was the opportunity materialists had awaited for a long time. For many modern science became the new faith, the new religion. And it rapidly inherited all the familiar failings of over confidence : a monolithic dogma with a blind disregard for contrary evidence.
The dogma was twofold, and doubly dangerous. The first was the dogma of materialism : modern science denied the possibility of any spiritual reality, instinctively excluding the old regime entirely. Just as Christianity had denied any respect to the flesh, our physical natures, and believed material science threatened heresy. Of course modern science doesn’t burn its heretics at the stake. Yet among the brothers, within the fraternity, we hear spiritual convictions can still produce excommunication and reduce a career to ashes. The resounding silence on the whole issue of the spiritual dimension from the scientific community is eloquent testimony to this enforced orthodoxy. The great question on so many minds is never seriously discussed by modern science, despite floods of public funding.
Any evidence of spiritual phenomena is routinely rubbished : it’s impossible, it cannot be. Because spiritual forces cannot be recognised by material instruments, cannot be calculated within the framework of material science, they cannot exist. It’s inconceivable. This barking dogmatic nonsense has absolute acceptance across the scientific world, setting the tone for modern thinking, the spirit of our times.
The empirical approach of recognising objective evidence is set aside. If two hundred people have similar, verified, out-of-the-body ‘near death experiences,’ these are all just ‘subjective experiences’ with dubious scientific value. At best, the question is effectively shelved for decades by the recommendation ‘further research needs to be done, no conclusions can be reached at this stage.’ And no funding is available for this supreme question on which every aspect of our lives depends.
In the last century modern science has discovered a vast array of unimagined invisible forces, only beginning with the miracle of radio waves. Now even the verified void, empty space, is known to be full of potential energy. Yet any forces beyond the physical spectrum, such as have been recognised in astrology and religion long beyond the last forty centuries, are damned as ludicrous superstition. Modern science has adopted an untenable position, just as the church did so often in its failing glory.
Victims of the usual illusion of duality, we believe we must choose one or the other : material science or the spiritual. We cannot accept truth embraces both.
Truth Has Two Sides
In the cutting-edge realm of sub-atomic physics, modern science itself has had to learn the ‘imagination shattering’ truths of complimentary opposites : two opposite statements, two opposite qualities, two opposite facts, can be true at the same time. For instance, an electron is both a particle and a wave. We can define its extremely tiny, very compact size but equally it is stretched out in a wave over a relatively large region of space.
But ultimately the evidence goes way beyond philosophical, even material opposites. The fundamental questions about the nature of matter defy answers, defy the very imaginations of the army of particle physicists. Increasingly, scientists barely have a clue what they will ultimately find they are looking at. The uncertainty is actually growing. These waves are far from material definitions. They are ‘abstract mathematical quantities’ which merely state ‘probabilities’ of where the particle may be found. And ultimately there is no ‘thing’ there, only an ‘event,’ the expression of a relationship with the great web of the sub-atomic universe. And it all depends how you look at it !
Besides this mystery hidden within an enigma concealed behind a conundrum, it is no great technical stretch to accept the idea there might be a spirit invisible within the obvious body and we might have evolved from God. But there’s none so blind as those don’t want to see.
It is a sound scientific proposition to accept there’s no holy smoke without fire and our modern sciences will have to start with a change of heart, accepting there is probably some truth in spiritual experiences, spiritual convictions and the ancient sciences of astrology and metaphysics.
Responsible Science ?
The second dogma was the natural arrogance modern science inherited from Christianity. The belief science was inherently good. Anything done in the name of science claims to be above reproach by mere layman, while fellow-scientists question their peers’ morality at their peril. Yet at the same time as claiming an ultimate authority, modern science, like academia, proudly abdicates, rejects, any responsibility for its actions. ‘We are just pursuing knowledge, advising on the objective, academic facts. We can’t be held accountable for the consequences !’ In economics, physics, bio-technology and a myriad of brilliant technological industries, the consequences can and have been pretty devastating. We are learning the ivory tower is no place to put your trust.
If you question the wisdom of all that learning in our proud universities, when the world is in such a precarious, sorry state, you will be told this is none of their affair. They merely acquire knowledge. Pretty ‘useless and pointless knowledge’* when it makes no attempt to solve the real problems we face : to make the world a better place, not just blindly make us materially richer. No attempt to take a stand for what is right against what is wrong. When this academic knowledge has lost even our birthright from Eden, the knowledge of good and evil. Modern science almost inevitably follows into the same failure.
Plato’s Academy and ancient Greek philosophy generally considered ethics, the judgement of what is right and wrong, to be the essence of their trade. Not useless, not pointless but serving the community’s greatest need. Not primitive naivety but perhaps ahead of their wicked times. We live in a moral vacuum, assailed by ruthless greed and deception on all sides and we are gasping for truth. When religion occasionally offers proper moral guidance, denouncing death and destruction, it has to fight for its life.
This failure of modern science is the same captivating arrogance which still makes many Christians believe anything done in the name of Jesus is blessed. Whatever the consequences, a Christian intention guarantees God on your side. We always seem to need this nice amoral self-righteousness, especially dealing in dubious enterprises, death and destruction or mere corporate absence-of-responsibility. We don’t need uncomfortable self-criticism. We abuse our greatest faith, we abuse Jesus, to excuse our basest instincts. ‘They say that patriotism is the last resort to which a scoundrel clings.’ *Bob Dylan ‘Sweetheart Like You’ The same goes for religion, or science, any great idea.
A keener commitment might apply higher standards of quality control, show some respect. ‘Would Jesus be pleased this was done in His Name ?’ Should science risk losing its reputation for high mindedness ? When these great vocations trade routinely and recklessly on their reputations to gain acceptance for the unacceptable, it is no wonder the public is disillusioned and disgusted by both. It is not inevitable it should be so. It is fatal. Without a reputation, humiliation and failure cannot be far away, however big you think you are.
The Brink of Extinction, Terminal Success
Einstein, perhaps the greatest thinker in modern science, was appalled his work led to the development of nuclear weapons and campaigned the rest of his life for their abolition. Yet Edward Teller, at the head of the US atomic weapons programme for years, has been revealed as a man driven by the excitement of science to insist on building the megaton Hydrogen bomb to replace the mere kiloton A-bomb, which gratuitously seared our consciences with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Over 150,000 were killed instantly, nearly as many more died in the following months, lingering deaths which continued for many years. According to Gen. Eisenhower and Winston Churchill, Japan was already trying to surrender and these bombs were unnecessary.
Teller admitted he wanted the H-bomb not because it was strategically necessary but because new nukes were possible and exciting science. The politicians were, as so often, powerless against the juggernaut of ‘scientific advice.’ Then, to keep his Livermore atomic laboratory busy and important, Teller produced H-bombs by the thousand, ruthlessly disgracing colleagues who urged caution and blocking all attempts to stem this doomsday tide. Teller led the arms race with the USSR which brought the world very close to annihilation, not only during the Cuban missile crisis.
During the crisis US military commanders, Gens. Curtis LeMay and Thomas Power actually test-fired a missile towards the USSR to get the nuclear exchange started, trying to thwart the reluctant politicians ! LeMay later regretted, “...at any point the Soviet Union could have been obliterated without more than expectable losses on our side."
More recently an impressive array of top brass from around the world, not known for speaking out, has deplored nukes as militarily useless and accident prone, threatening global catastrophe. They have called for global abolition as both essential and realistic. They include one of LeMay and Power’s successors as head of US nuclear forces, Gen. Lee Butler : “A world free of the threat of nuclear weapons is necessarily a world devoid of nuclear weapons … we have yet to grasp the monstrous effects of these weapons.” If we realised the horrors waiting in our back yards ….
Finally Teller was an early proponent of the Star Wars system by which the US now promises to achieve ‘full spectrum domination’ of the world by 2020, by land, sea, air and, even illegally, from space-based laser weapons. These last will be powered by plutonium nuclear fuel which, when the satellites’ orbits finally decay and they burn up in the earth’s atmosphere, will pollute the planet with so much radiation cancer rates, already at epidemic heights, will threaten humanity’s survival.
We dare not believe this irresponsibility, this human weakness, belying all the assurances. This is precisely why irresponsibility prospers unchecked, behind closed gates, closed doors. Proper assurances are no problem. Proper responsibility is … impossible ? “Still, it hasn’t happened yet.” Still, it has been close … a few times.
This intoxication and blind faith in modern science is natural and inevitable for everyone across the board and, combined with a hefty financial incentive, rarely missing from the mix, has brought our planet to the brink of extinction from a stupefying array of threats : nuclear weapons, nuclear power, global warming and biological and chemical weapons. Accidents involving these last two, as with nuclear power, present a whole range of potential disasters with lethal strains stored routinely with the complacent confidence, ‘It can’t happen here.’ Whenever reports on safety issues are made public, the catalogue of sheer incompetence and basic neglect is appalling. What is most alarming is how human and predictable it all sounds.
Better our modern science had never been born, than threaten us with extinction, as it does.
In its heyday Christianity has been responsible for wiping out precious and essentially peaceful civilisations in North and South America, stark genocide, not to mention the outrageously cruel and unjustified Crusades. The list is inexhaustible and still too recent to catalogue without controversy. High-minded ideas blind us to the price in innocent victims and ‘we don’t do body counts,’ as the general frankly put it. Modern science likewise.
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